2. So this isn’t really a dating story either, and the circumstances are sort of twisted, but since it involves one of the few boys that have ever kissed me, I think we’ll count it too. It was freshman year of college, and things were a little...strange between my girlfriend and me. Our situation was a bit weird as she was my first, and we had never really had the “you’re my girlfriend now” conversation. We got into a discussion once, and she (let’s call her Sarah, for the sake of the story) said that she thought I was conflicted, and that I should make an effort to “clarify my sexuality.” This is another blog for another day, but the point is, she gave me the assignment of going out and kissing a boy. I had never really thought about how to label myself, probably because I sure as hell didn’t want to have to say that I was gay, but I knew that I had no interest in men. It pissed me off that she was confronting me with a reality I wasn’t ready to face, though, so, out of spite, I went out and found a boy. He was a senior (Sarah was a senior too) and let’s call him Dan. Dan was a squirrely but cute-ish white guy, and he wore black rectangular hipster glasses and semi-tight jeans but was not “a hipster” (which is of course the definition of a hipster!) I think I picked him because he was easy—clearly a bit insecure, clearly interested in me, and yet clearly emotionally screwed up enough not to expect anything from me. The first time I kissed him it was like he was trying to devour my face! When I told Sarah this, she said, “Well, try it again; things like that generally get better.” I didn’t know what she meant. I never had the sense that this was “going to get better.” I knew that I was gay. But I did it again anyway. (Again, we’ll get into the ”why” and all of that loveliness later). This time he had invited me over to watch a movie, and then had started to kiss me. We kissed for about a minute before I stopped. It was “getting better” in that he was able to take the hint that he should probably put at least some of his tongue back in his mouth, but the bulge in his pants and the weight and smell of him, it wasn’t feeling any different. I lied and said that he had been on my bladder, and that I had to pee. I went to the bathroom and called Sarah.
“Stay,” she said, “see how you feel about it.”
“It’s not fun,” I said, “not even a little bit.”
“Just try; it’s important to know yourself. Do you like him?”
“He’s a nice guy, smart.”
“Good. You’re not scared or anything, right?”
“No, he’s short; I could take him if he got weird.”
“Haha, ok, good. So go finish the movie. Just go with the flow. See how you feel.”
“But I already feel—“
“—I think this is important.”
“Bye. Call me tomorrow.”
This was the conversation that I had with my then girlfriend about the boy she wanted me to hook up with! I wet my face, turned off the water, and went back into the living room. After I had been sitting for a few minutes, Dan made his move again. He was kissing me, touching my stomach and my back, my sides, and I was sort of just laying there. He grabbed my hands and put them around him as a signal that I should be touching him too. I tried. I don’t think it worked, because he suddenly started kissing me more passionately, putting his hands on the back of my head and playing with my hair. I don’t know how long this continued; I had sort of checked out. Later, when we were laying on his bed (no, I didn’t sleep with him—our clothes didn’t even come off. I don’t know how we got to the bed, really—I think his roommates came home) we were talking and he said, “you know, your hair is really pretty, like really sexy; I think you just need to condition more.” I kid you not; this is what he said. Besides the fact that it seemed to be an incredibly inopportune time to be giving me advice on hair care, I didn’t “need to condition” because I’m not white, and no matter how much conditioner I dump on my head, my hair won’t feel like white girl hair! That’s what I should have said, something like that. I didn’t know if I was supposed to be offended, upset, or what. I said nothing. I waited for the next time he said it, (oh yes, there was a next time! Sarah made me go out with him one more time, and he definitely said it again), and I finally said “I don’t need to condition more—my hair just has a different texture; I’m not white, so my hair follicles are thicker, and more coarse.”
“Oh,” he said.
Awesome, right? I try not to judge other people’s ignorance in general—judgment doesn’t help the education process, and just begets more ignorance, I think—but as slip-ups go, this one was one of the most ridiculous. I should have sat him down and we should have had a Chris Rock style lesson on “good hair.” But I was ignorant then too in a way. I didn’t know how to explain "black" to a white person; I had always thought it was a given that I was different. I had never had to delineate the specifics of this.